BOMB EXPLODES IN LEBANESE CATHEDRAL In Jounieh, Lebanon, a bomb exploded near the altar of a Maronite Catholic Church yesterday as hundreds of worshipers lined up to take communion. At least nine people were killed and more than 30 wounded, police and witnesses said. Four more unexploded bombs were found in the church organ after the blast, Interior Minister Bishara Merhej said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, and investigators had not determined a motive. The blast came as Lebanon prepares for a visit by Pope Paul John II in May, the first ever to Lebanon by a Roman Catholic pontiff. Lebanon's 1 million Maronites, who had dominated the country since its 1943 independence from France, were the main losers in the Arab League-brokered peace treaty that ended the civil war. The pact forced them to share power equally with the Muslims, who make up a 55 percent majority of Lebanon's population of 4 million. Human rights attack

Beijing yesterday attacked the US for its disregard for human rights, saying China's record was better in many areas. On the eve of talks in Beijing between Vice Foreign Minister Qin Huasun and John Shattuck, US assistant secretary of state for human rights, the New China News Agency also published a commentary on a US State Department human rights report released on Feb. 1. The report gave China some credit for taking positive steps in 1993 but was critical overall. Human rights attack

Cambodian government forces have been surrounded by Khmer Rouge guerrillas at the key base troops seized from the rebel group earlier this month, senior officials said Saturday. The government seized Anlong Veng on Feb. 5. It was considered the biggest military victory by the government, which came to power in elections last May. The communist Khmer Rouge, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians when it held power in the 1970s, has refused a negotiated deal to end 15 years of civil war. Afghan fighting resumes

Factions aligned with Premier Gulbuddin Hekmatyar launched a nighttime attack Saturday against President Burhanuddin Rabbani's forces, firing scores of rockets at government positions. In an earlier attack Saturday, artillery fire hit a crowded marketplace, killing 15 people and wounding 27, according to Radio Kabul, which is controlled by the president. Islamic factions who fought together for 13 years in order to oust a Communist government that was defeated in 1992 are now warring among themselves. Regulating cigarettes

The Food and Drug Administration is considering classifying nicotine as a drug, a move that could allow it to ban most cigarettes and have ``dramatic effects on our society.'' The FDA's statement Friday, a major shift in policy, sparked Congress to set hearings on the topic for next month. But the tobacco industry dismissed the talk as rhetoric.

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